It’s certainly undeniable that when it comes to underground R&B – a creative corner has been turned in the last couple years. The genre has yet to fully recover on a mainstream level from the drought its endured over the past decade however. But things seem to be slowly changing in that area too. With the release of Frank Ocean’s debut album channel ORANGE (by no means an ‘easy’ record for a mainstream audience) and artists like Miguel and Jhene Aiko having support from major labels – maybe a new dawn is upon us (optimism never killed anyone).
Enter then K’La, a fresh faced female singer newly signed to Def Jam Records who’s new single ‘Blame’ features Nasir Jones. The single is a punchy jam with K’La’s sultry voice and singable melody disguising her man woes, as a thick bass and boom-clap beat carries the rest. Esco – who has been providing pure fire as of late – delivers a hard-nosed and sharp guest verse too (“her only mistake was I caught her rocking ‘Takeover’”). Take a listen…
The pack of fem-cees continues and we gladly accept them all. There is definitely something exciting happening at the moment. After years, reminiscing on the creatively raw times of Missy, Foxy, Kim and Eve, the female lyricist seemed to fade in the background.
But only for a minute. Now with the recent influx in blogland, arrives Angel Haze. The 20 year old Virgina resident has been hotting up on the Tumblr scene for a while. Gaining followers and YouTube views tackling taboo subjects such as suicide and bullying, whilst reciting part poetry, part rap to the masses. Striking a chord with audiences, she’s now preparing her Reservation EP which is due for release July 17th.
The lead single ‘New York’ is a grimacing tale, with a gully stripped back beat and echoes of Gil Scott Heron type wails in the background. Produced by New Yorker The 83rd, the crisp claps rattle along Haze’s raspy voice as she stylistically recalls why she runs New York. Unashamed straight Hip Hop here. Watch out for the blow up this/next year.
‘Cherrry Wine’ is 6 minutes of lo-fi, fuzzy Soul produced by Salaam Remi and the result of sessions recorded by Nas and Amy Winehouse back in 2008. Their personal styles and long standing friendship seem to blend so well here, this track stands up as another fine collaboration from the two.
‘Cherry Wine’ is set to feature on Nas’ forthcoming LP Life Is Good, out July 17th.
It seems Nas is slowly but surely rediscovering his voice with his forthcoming album Life Is Good. Nas runs with the ethos of his latest album title and opts for optimistic lyrics to detail the changes from where he was to where he is now. Fiercely rapping over No I.D’s crumbling piano led beat, he’s joined by New York’s Main Source, Large Professor.
With his new album Fortune out at the end of this week, occasional R&B singer Chris Brown has unveiled a new track featuring God-emcee Nas.
Whenever Brown releases a track akin to the sound he first broke onto the scene with, we’re (bitterly) reminded of the talent and potential he once displayed. It’s difficult to remember nowadays but at one point, this young man was heralded as ‘next on the throne’. An artist who had the potential to fill the shoes of Usher, some even said Michael Jackson (folk like to hype, you get our point though).
Unfortunately, unlike this song which showcases the best of what Brown has to offer – we no longer expect quality like that from him. Production wise, ‘Mirage’ knocks with classic sample flavour whilst vocally, it suits him to a tee. Nasir here delivers a solid guest verse too, the pair sound great together. It’s undeniable that commercially a track like this would make little impact unlike one of his Euro-Strobe atrocities. So let’s accept another great little R&B gem tucked away as an album cut in amongst undignified crap.
Don’t get your hopes up with this one though – can’t imagine the rest of Chris’ new set will sound like this. Recommend dusting off yee ol’ fist pump if you’re going to hit play on that.
If you’re following us on Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr, you will know that summer (named by season, not the weather) has been popping off here in London and it keeps getting better it seems.
Legendary footwear and apparel brand, Converse have just announced the line up for their summer series ‘Represent’ which will run from July 30th to August 10th at the iconic 100 club. The likes of Nas, Plan B, Santigold, Yuna, SBTRKT, Rudimental, Paul Weller, Friends, Kano and so many more. Perfect line up to soak in those Olympic summer evenings in.
For your chance to win tickets, head over to the Converse website.
Ahead of the release of his new album Life is Good on July 17th, Nas gets remixed by British Trip-Hop pioneers Massive Attack. Their version of ‘The Don’ has added echoed effects, riddled drum patterns and a haunted bassline. Leaving his vocals untouched, their moody and elongated synths build up to a dramatic conclusion.
The BBC’s Hackney Weekend was by all accounts a roaring success this weekend. Set in the heart of Hackney, the 2-day event saw performances from superstars Jay-Z & Kanye West (The Throne), Nas, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Plan B, Labrinth, Jessie Ware, Azealia Banks, Jessie J, Michael Kiwanuka, Santigold and loads more.
Watch some of the highlight performances from the festival up top and after the jump and check our tumblr for some snaps of our adventures from Saturday.
Not much is known about DIANA other than there from some part of Canada. But what I think we can tell from ‘Born Again’ is that they probably have quite a soft spot for 80′s pop culture as evidenced in those chunky electro bass riff’s, soft drums, sax solo’s and that big power ballad chorus. And then there are those ghostly vocals which give everything a nice eerie “Lynchian“ atmosphere. I like it.
Head to their soundcloud and listen to their achingly cool ‘Perpetual Surrender’ too.